Research continues to make strides during Brain Tumor Awareness Month

Published: May. 24, 2023 at 3:08 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Right now, one million Americans are living with a brain tumor. Upwards of 95,000 people are year are diagnosed and 20,000 people die from a brain tumor.

May is brain tumor awareness month.

Dr. James Markert is a professor and the Chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at UAB. He said sometimes the symptoms of a brain tumor can be dramatic, like a seizure, but other times not as obvious. He said a symptom can also be a headache and nausea. He said symptoms vary because of where the tumor is on the brain.

Markert said the key to early detection is not ignoring symptoms so treatment can get started as soon as possible.

UAB is home to a proton radiation center, the only one of its kind in the southeast. Markert said we have come a long way when it comes to treatment.

“We have special agents that actually glow and fluoresce. Sometimes It can be difficult to actually separate certain brain tumors from surrounding normal brain tissue.”

Research also continues at UAB, including looking for ways to provide high doses of radiation so the tumor doesn’t become immune to treatment.

“Our laboratory works on inoculated viruses. Viruses go in and destroy the brain tumor and call it an immune response. We are trying with other medicines to train the patient’s immune system to work against the tumor.”

Markert hopes to see more federal funding in the future for research on brain tumors.

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